Over the weekend on Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, 2013. Tatua Kenya hosted their first training for trainers. All five of our organizers and about 8 more young leaders in Kenya attended the event. It was an exciting time to come together and learn and celebrate the way Tatua has grown over the past two years.
One thing Natalie said during the training that really shined light into our work was that, “Tatua is not a formula. It is a belief that the community is the solution and that our work is to expose their power and breathe life into it.”
She went on to say that, “Our role is to create and give people an opportunity to be involved in the work and help them believe and experience that they are capable.”
It was impossible to walk away from the training without feeling inspired and encouraged by what is happening in this country.
If you want to see more photos from the training click here!
Margaret, Lucyline and Catherine are great supporters of my work in Nkoroi. Today, they showed up early for one of the meetings we had with the vetting committee that is supposed to help propose names for candidates to be appointed in the leadership team of the community initiative.
We spent about 30 minutes chatting about some of the education challenges in the area before the rest arrived. Margaret openly says that one of neighbors has two daughters who have not joined secondary school since last year due to lack of fees, even after receiving admission letters to school. She further said that the area only has 3 secondary schools with over 5,000 kids leaving primary school each year. The secondary schools in the area will only admit kids with marks over 300. With a starting fee of over 20,000Ksh for the 1st term, it is almost impossible for most children to enroll. Catherine says that it is every parent’s dream to see their children complete their education, but they just can’t afford it.
They have one positive story though, the parents in Nkaimurunya primary school got together and raised money to fund kids in the school who did not have the support to register for their final (standard 8) primary level exam. They raised over 40,000Ksh. This story makes me believe more in this community.
There is a lot of hidden power and resource amongst local communities in Kenya to help find solutions for local problems/challenges. How can we help uncover that power and work together to use it in the most beneficial way?
This years community organizing model is different from what Be The Change did last year in the sense that we as community organizers have to secure the resources we need from the community other than pay for them.
It’s one of the biggest challenges this year. Some people will ask why you ask for these resources, yet you came to help, only thing on my mind is…’’I want you to be invested in the initiatives, it is for the community and by the community and I’m showing you one of the ways you can help.”
This model comes with its challenges. I secured space for my introductory community forum in Ng’ando and they bailed just days before the event. This drove me to change my strategy as well as date of the forum. Luckily, in normal circumstances there is always another probable place that could offer the same resource. This time I secured space elsewhere via Shalom House at the Diakonia Institute hall where I had the first community introductory forum.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” -Paulo coehlo.
What challenges have you faced when organizing? How have you overcome them?
April 6th I was asked to give a TEDx Talk in Mathare. The invite was exciting, fun and incredibly humbling. TED is a non-profit organization that asks speakers to share their life story and how their unique past led them to the work they are doing. This story/result should challenge the audience’s beliefs and provoke conversation.
You would think for some one who is versed/teaches narrative this would have come easily to me but I was forced to really think about what I wanted to say. I didn’t want to get up there and give the usual “Tatua Rocks” schpeel, though we do rock. Instead, I was hoping to focus on the method/belief behind our work – that true development goes beyond the material to the spiritual.
This belief is based in our understanding of poverty. We believe that poverty is more than a lack resources; it is a lie that you are in fact, inferior to the people who hold those resources. It is a lie that you do not have the power to create your own solutions.
Currently, the majority of our development programs are focused on addressing the lack of resources rather than the lie that causes and encompasses that lack of resources, for more on how we’ve come to believe this lie see here.
The trick with narrative is that to tell a good one you’ve got to know why you know something is true. I mean, I know that but this was a new narrative for me, I haven’t really talked about when I knew the difference between the tangible lack of resources I experienced as a child (I’ve talked about that before) but this time I was talking about when I felt poor.
I was able to coach myself well enough to get to a story that I could tell.
I was ten years old, it was cold outside and time for recess. I was wearing this old, pink, thin windbreaker. I ddin’t want to go to recess, I didn’t want the other kids to see my jacket, they all had warm clothes. So I hid, I curled up in a little ball in the ourdoor hallways of bendwood elementary and I hid. I continued hiding for the next eighteen years.
-Natalie Finstad, Executive Director of Tatua Kenya